Ten pallets piled high with 189 boxes of gently used shoes left Winnetka this past week on their way to Sassier, home of Sacred Heart’s twin parish, St Jean Baptiste. Although we lost count, we are sure that there are more than 4,000 pair of shoes, which means there will be a least 8,000 Happy Feet in the Sassier area.
First stop is Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Rays of Hope International will pack the shoes into a 40 foot long container, along with other things going to Haiti. Once full, the container will travel by rail to a Florida port, be loaded on a ship and sail to Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. After being off-loaded and clearing customs, the shoes will rest in the warehouse of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince until a truck picks them up for the 200 mile journey by road to Jeremie (the local provincial capital), and then finally to Sassier. The trip will take between 2 and 4 months. Once they have arrived, the Parish Council will organize a three day flea market for Sassier area residents. The shoes are sold at a deeply discounted price (compared to prices in Jeremie), with the resulting revenues used to defray the costs of transportation from Port au Prince, provide funding for Parish and School programs and make shoes available to those who can’t afford them.
Special thanks to all those who donated shoes, all those who volunteered to pack all those boxes, and the Sacred Heart’s summer work crew, who carried all the boxes and got the truck loaded. Special shout out to Kathleen Clarke, Rich Adler, Mike Akey, Mike Gard, and Mike King for their contributions of talent, time and boxes, pallets, etc.